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Huge loan scam in Assam bank

Loss of crores of rupees in bank fraud

The Panbazar branch of the bank in Guwahati. Picture by Manash Das

Guwahati: An alleged multi-crore rupee loan scam has been unearthed at a Bank of India (BoI) branch here.

A CBI official told The Telegraph that the alleged fraud, which took place at the Guwahati main branch of BoI, relates to sanctioning and disbursal of loans by violating laid-down procedures and guidelines of the bank and without any due diligence, thereby causing wrongful loss to the bank to the tune of more than Rs 8.5 crore.

The alleged fraud took place between 2012 and 2014. Copies of the FIRs filed in this case are in the possession of The Telegraph.

According to the source, as per Reserve Bank of India's guidelines for reporting bank frauds, it has been referred to the CBI for investigation. The CBI has registered three separate FIRs in this connection at its anti-corruption branch here.

The CBI probes bank frauds when the amount is above Rs 3 crore while state police deal with the rest.

The cases have been registered under the Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as a genuine one) of the IPC and Sections 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The source said in the FIR, the CBI had named then chief manager of the bank Ran Vijay Kumar as one of the accused.

In one of the cases, the FIR mentioned that Kumar had allegedly misused his official position and entered into a criminal conspiracy with Tapan Paul, Baby Paul, Noor Hasan, Gurjit Singh, Simanta Jyoti Deka and others - and sanctioned loans amounting to Rs 3.27 crore under the Small Road Transport Operator (SRTO) Scheme without adhering to the bank's guidelines.

Under the SRTO scheme, loans were given to transport operators for acquisition of new and used commercial vehicles.

"The private persons cheated the bank by using forged/fake documents for availing of the loans. Kumar knowingly and intentionally did not follow the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and opened their bank accounts on the basis of temporary addresses by using fake documents, which clearly reveals a conspiracy among them," the source said.

As a result of not complying with the KYC norms, the loanees and their vehicles are not traceable.

"Similarly, in another case, too, Kumar had sanctioned loans to some private persons for purchasing machinery/excavator without following the norms, causing a loss of Rs 2.28 crore to the bank. In this case also the loanees are not traceable," the source said.

He said the third FIR was related to sanctioning of term loans and cash credit loans of Rs 2.69 crore to Lhakpa Tsering, proprietor of M/s Lhakpa Trading Agency, for purchasing of machinery/excavator and civil contract work by violating the guidelines.

It is alleged that Tsering submitted false/forged sale certificates to the bank and Kumar deliberately did not conduct proper verification to ensure end use of the fund.

"The cash credit loan was sanctioned for civil contract work but the amount was mostly transferred and misappropriated to the personal account of Tsering and his relatives. The contract work from Border Roads Organisation was cancelled on December 16, 2015, due to poor performance but Tsering did not inform the bank about it, nor did the bank conduct any post-disbursement inspection at the work site to know the actual status of the end use of funds," he said.

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